Behavior of Serial Killers
The arrest of Todd Christopher Kohlhepp; a murder suspect of four, have raised questions on how a serial killer can be able to elude arrest for years. The experts attributed the long time taken before his arrest to the fact that the serial killers blend and interact well with the community and thus is hard for their activities to be noticed (USA Today, November 8, 2017). The major difference between the murderers and the serial killers can be noticed in the time taken for them to commit their next murder. Unlike the mass murderers, the serial killers have a period between the deaths as evidenced in the case of the four deaths by Todd. Besides the four murders that had been recorded, three other bodies were discovered on Todd’s 95-acre land with one body being that of Charles Carver that went missing for almost a year. Todd’s behavior, according to Dr. Erick Hickey was quite unusual as he enumerated that it is quite hard for a serial killer to start with a mass murder. With over 35 years study on serial killers, he stated that Todd’s pattern was quite uncommon (USA Today, November 8, 2017).
The serial killers in many cases appear to be normal and regularly interact with the people in their community. According to Enzo Yaksik, the serial killers live dual lives with a lot of care and diligence something that has made it difficult for the investigating authorities to detect them (USA Today, November 8, 2017). After interviewing 115 serial killers, Dr. Helen Morrison acknowledged that the serial killers can go undetectable for a long time because of their apparent normalcy (USA Today, November 8, 2017). She says that many people often become shocked when the killers are arrested as they usually presume them to be saints. The serial killers are not monsters that live alone but the common people whom we regularly interact.
The behavior by the serial killers can be explained by cognitive psychology theory. This is the school of psychology that focuses on how the people think, perceive, and learn. It was developed after the other theories failed to explain how the internal processes affected behavior. Jean Piaget recognized that the behaviorism theory is dictated by the environmental causes rather than the internal forces. Todd’s actions could not be attributed to the external environment as the authorities recognized that the victims came from a diverse background. The FBI indicated that the serial killers are not motivated by one single motive. They indicated that the perception behind the thought that sex is the key motivator towards serial killing was wrong. Yaksic stated that many behaviors shown by the serial killers are developed during their childhood through their perception to approach and handle various challenges. Todd’s parents acknowledged that during his childhood, they understood him to be someone full of anger. The lack of remorse amongst the serial killers is also a trait that has to be conceived from their thoughts and not their interactions with the environment.
The approach towards serial killing in the future must be centered towards cognitive psychology. With the constant rise in cases of serial murders, the investigative authorities should concentrate on studying people’s perceptions. Embracing cognitive theory will help in identifying the suspects in the early stages bearing in mind that finding the serious killers in the society is hard.
USA Today, November 8, 2017